How to Decorate Cocktails With Fruits and Vegetables

There are a couple of tools that you will need to create really attractive garnishes. The first is a really good bar knife and the second is a paring knife.

With the bar knife you can cut fruit and vegetables into any shape you want. The paring knife is used to make citrus rind curls called corkscrew twists

Corkscrew twists have almost become the measure of what makes a bartender more than a bartender, but rather a bartender chef! The longer your rind curls, the defter you are considered to be with the knife. A rind curl is a long spiral, slinky shaped piece of rind that can be dropped right into the cocktail or draped on the side of it. Basically, you use your paring knife to peel the rind from the fruit and keep peeling from the top around from the bottom to achieve the longest “slinky” shape you can. Some bars serve rind curls that are four to six inches long!

Your paring knife can also be used to shave chocolate curls into a chocolate drink or cucumber curls into a martini.

Another trend is to feather the ends of vegetables such as celery and carrots before you stick them in Bloody Caesars or Bloody Mary’s or fashion them into a kind of a spear that you can then use to stab an olive or cherry tomato.

If you are really creative, you can also make cookie cutters part of your cocktail garnish tool set. Small cookie cutters can be pressed into any vegetable that is sliced laterally and flat enough so that you can create a shape.

Another imaginative way to garnish your drinks, is to freeze the garnish inside ice cube trays and then throw them into the drink. This especially works well with small bead like fruits such a cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, melon balls and olives

To make your own flavored sugars to “frost” your specialty cocktails all you need to do is mix up three tablespoons of a liqueur, beverage or other flavoring to one cup of sugar and crush it to a fine dust in a blender. For instance if you wanted to make a cranberry frosting for cosmopolitans you would add three tablespoons of Cranberry juice cocktail to one cup sugar. To make a lemon frosting, add three table spoons lemonade.

As you can see it is quite easy to be really creative when decorating cocktails with fruits and vegetables. Virtually the sky is the limit when it comes to creating a something that truly will have your stamp of originality on it.

How to Decorate A Cocktail in Contemporary Ways

Ever since Smirnoff started pushing the chocolate martini, bartenders have been going wild trying to come up with garnishes for this drink. This has included everything from perching a Hershey’s Kiss at the side of the glass, to frosting the rim with chocolate Jell-O pudding powder to dropping a chocolate covered coffee bean at the bottom of the glass. Some bars, such the Turtle Creek Mansion in Dallas, mold their own chocolates specifically to accompany drinks, such as their white chocolate martini that has a triangle shaped piece of white chocolate drizzled with chocolate as the garnish.

An old trend that has come back involves soaking your own cherries in a liqueur and then use that as a garnish. A chocolate martini in that case could be garnished with a cherry that has been soaked in kirsch or Kahlua; an old fashioned cocktail or martini could be garnished with a cherry that is pickled in dry French vermouth.

Another huge trend is star fruit. It has replaced the kiwi of the garnish “of the moment.” This is an oval tropical fruit that once sliced vertically, concedes a beautiful yellow star shape. This fruit is used to garnish everything from the simplest of martinis to the most foamy of tropical drinks.

As the twenty first century also brought in with it the key word “simplicity” many bartenders are simply dropping a single cranberry, pomegranate seed or blueberry into the bottom of cosmopolitans or Crantinis to give the cocktail a sleek but minimalist look.

A bartender named Kathy Casey at Seattle’s Andaluca bar came up with one of the most creative and elegant garnishes ever to grace a martini. She drops edible gold flakes into the martini to give it a “lava lamp” effect. This is the same stuff that is used for cake decorations.

Another popular trend is to replace the olive with just about any other savory fruit or vegetable imaginable – as long as it is spiced. Long green and yellow beans stuffed with pimento, pickled mushrooms, almonds marinated chili peppers, white pickled asparagus and pickled artichokes are making their appearance as martini garnishes across the country.

Bloody Marys and Bloody Caesars have also had a bit of a makeover, boasting asparagus spears, very long green beans, bunches of tall herbs such as thyme or oregano and vertically cut cucumber strips and carrots as “stirrers” in the drink. This is quite a far cry from the usual celery stick. At some bars, such as the Hoghead McDunna’s in Chicago, some bloody drinks have been practically turned into a meal; guests are served skewers loaded with cheese squares, salami curls, pickles, radishes and multi-colored peppers. Some bars even garnish these drinks with smoked and raw oysters doused in pepper vodka.

Other unusual garnishes include rum drinks that are served with a stick of raw sugar cane, vermouth drinks that are pepped up with a clove stuck into an orange segment or crystallized ginger, and gummy bears and jelly beans that are dropped to the bottom of a glass.